Ridesharing company Uber has been putting its self-driving semi trucks to work by carrying shipments for real customers in Arizona.
Uber’s Freight delivery division, Uber Freight, runs through an app — similar to how a regular Uber works. Drivers can find shipments near them that need to be picked up and then shuttle them to where they need to be, without a middleman.
Using this app, Uber has set up a system where human drivers and self-driving trucks can work together.
A human driver will pick up a shipment and ferry it a short distance to a transfer hub. At this hub, the human driver will then give the shipment to a self-driving truck, which takes it on the long haul highway portion of the trip.
Once the self-driving truck reaches another transfer hub, it will hand off the shipment to another human driver who will take it the remaining length of the trip.
The overall idea is that humans will do the short trips that involve more complex or urban driving, while the self-driving trucks will take the load for a long haul on the highways.